A miner’s Arrirang


This kind of group singing is not uncommon among older Koreans.  It’s a solidarity thing and not a performance thing.  Since we’re on a sad song kick, here is a rendition of Arrirang I remembered seeing in Jong Soo-Il’s movie about dark solutions born of despair, A girl of black soil.

I really liked it a lot, so I downloaded it, clipped, and posted it for you.  I’ve switched to dailymotion because Youtube cooperates with the Korean Real Name law and therefore I am NOT ALLOWED to upload any video.

Supposedly a young girl killed herself a few years ago due to unrelenting heckling and harassment by others, and so the government wanted to be able to trace all malicious postings to their source.  But, of course, this is also a convenient excuse to curb citizen mobilization and media influence.

Thanks to the commenter Mark Z. below, I was able to post to Youtube by changing my location to worldwide.  Yayy!  Only the dailymotion upload turns out to be MUCH HIGHER QUALITY, and so here’s the link .

Another reason I like this video clip is it has turned Arrirang into a work song and a labor rights song.  This country didn’t get rich by being fair to its workers…

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8 thoughts on “A miner’s Arrirang

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Google and YouTube were protesting the Real Name law, and refused to comply by disabling the upload/commenting for all users on the Korean version of the site. If you change the region setting on your account to any country other than Korea, you should be able to upload video.

  2. That’s what I thought too and was surprised when I couldn’t post. I’ll try that. I knew it was an IP problem. Thanks!

  3. Arirang, Arirang, ….
    I don’t know how much time I sang Arirang during my chilhood, but I know I heard it often and sang it often. Although, it couldn’t comprehend its meaning, it was a song that I could sing as naturallaly as a children’s song.
    I now know its general meaning, but I only remember the first sentence and I don’t understand a word of it and although I remember the melody, it’s very unatural to me.

  4. Margie, you can see the whole movie, A girl of black soil, on mysoju.com.

    It has some amazing stark images of mining life in it.

    One of the most amazing documentaries ever made EVER. EVER. was called Harlan county, U.S.A. And it follows the struggles of Union workers as they suffer through health problems, strikes, and harassment by strike breakers. It’s got a fantastic soundtrack of Appalachian folk music if you’re into that kind of thing, which I am totally into, and it’s an important historical document about the god and bad of labor organizing in America. But mostly it’s a tribute to the tenacity and strength of these exploited mountain people. It’s available on netflicks.

  5. Oh Myung Sook, to have so many memories must be so bitter-sweet. I would have gone crazy. You are so strong…

    I had to learn it at Korean heritage camp that summer I accidentally thought I was signing up for adoptee culture camp. There was no translation of any of the songs we were given, and we just sang the romanized words. Nobody told us it was a sad song! So we just sang it happy like a children’s song too…

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